Advocacy – From Your Backyard to the State Capitol

Posted on August 3, 2016 · Posted in CSEA Society News, Industry News, Latest Updates

7/6/16 – CSEA advocates for the rights of both Enrolled Agents and taxpayers, with the goal of influencing public policy in support of the Enrolled Agent designation, our Members and taxpayers. CSEA tracked and supported a number of bills during 2015-2016, and the Legislative Affairs Committee worked closely with staff and our legislative advocate to analyze and keep tabs on those bills.

Advocacy on behalf of the Enrolled Agent profession is one of the most powerful things our Members can do to raise awareness about the Enrolled Agent profession and ensure effective tax policy. I have always been interested in the California State Legislature and the bills that CSEA supports and sponsors. Since serving as Vice Chair of the CSEA 2015-2016 Legislative Affairs Committee, I have been able to see the positive results first-hand.

At the State Tax Agencies Liaison Meeting (STALM) in October 2015, attendees were able to voice concerns and interact with representatives from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the Board of Equalization (BOE) and the Employment Development Department (EDD). Highlights of the day included lunching with tax agency representatives as well as a tour of the FTB. I was fortunate to be in the group that had an extra tour of the Tech Department and their new systems, and even saw the machine that answers all our calls.

Each year, many CSEA Members visit their legislators’ local offices and attend open house events, receptions and other functions where they can interact with legislators and their staff. Chris de Lorimier, EA and I visited several legislators locally, as did Alex Dunkel, EA and Franklin Ruedel, EA (all of San Gabriel Valley Chapter).

CSEA’s clout and influence is greatly increased through our Members’ efforts to establish relationships with state legislators at the local level, both as constituents and as professionals who represent many other taxpaying constituents. I was present at the opening of Assembly Member Ling Ling Chang’s new office, and when I visited her office at the State Capitol in Sacramento, she took the time to meet with me herself. Alex Dunkel also met with her local representative and was given a Certificate of Commendation.

CSEA Members were out in force for Jim Stern Legislative Day in January 2016. More than 50 Members throughout California converged on the State Capitol in Sacramento to meet with legislators and their staff. I want to personally thank all those Members who participated in the event. By doing this on an annual basis, we are able to develop relationships with legislators and their staff, so that Member EAs will be recognized as tax experts and called upon as resources in the creation and review of proposed tax-related legislation. It is a pleasure meet people you visited the year before and have them say they remember seeing you! While in Sacramento, CSEA Members were also able to participate in a fundraising lunch for the Legislative Action Fund.

I believe that if you are a member of an organization like CSEA, you need to participate – work on a committee, chair a committee, or become an officer.  No one will get more out of your involvement than you yourself.  In doing this, you not only help CSEA, but you will also improve your business by developing better leadership skills, confidence and self-esteem.  As an added bonus, you’ll also develop friendships throughout the state and country.

This article was submitted by Donna M. Aguirre, EA on behalf of the CSEA Legislative Affairs Committee.